OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 20, 2014, 02:06:19 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Ethiopian Dancing and Drums  (Read 8475 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
JustinHesychast
Seeker of Truth
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3


JustinHesychast
WWW
« on: May 30, 2008, 12:26:56 PM »

Christ is Risen!

I am currently Eastern Orthodox, but am trying to read more about my Oriental Orthodox brethren. And I have a question I cannot seem to find an answer on. Why do the Ethiopian Orthodox dance, use drums, and clap during their worship? I know that drums are imported and deeply rooted within the culture, but, it's the Divine Liturgy.

Thanks! Smiley

~Justin
Logged



"The more rain falls on the earth, the softer it makes it; similarly, Christ's holy name gladdens the earth of our heart the more we call upon it." — St. Hesychios
Andrew21091
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 1,271



« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 08:26:50 PM »

Hey Justin. Nice to see you here at OC.net.

I'm not Ethiopian Orthodox, but the reasons for the use of dancing and instruments can be found in the Psalms. What does Psalm 149 say? "Let them praise His name in the dance; with the timbrel and the psaltery let them chant unto Him." Also in Psalm 150: "Praise Him with timbrel and dance, praise him with strings and flute. Praise Him with tuneful cymbals, praise Him with cymbals of jubilation. Let every breath praise the Lord."
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 08:28:31 PM by Andrew21091 » Logged
JustinHesychast
Seeker of Truth
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3


JustinHesychast
WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 08:38:09 PM »

Hiya! Smiley

Wasn't that different from the Temple worship, though? I can't quite remember, but there was another place where they would gather for that, but the Temple worship did not use the instruments.
Logged



"The more rain falls on the earth, the softer it makes it; similarly, Christ's holy name gladdens the earth of our heart the more we call upon it." — St. Hesychios
HaileAmanuel
HaileAmanuel [Amanuel is my Power]
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahido/Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 87


He that is greatest among you will be your servant


« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2008, 06:47:49 PM »

Dear Justin,

How are you?  I hope that all is well and I am happy to see your interest in Non-Chalcedonian (Oriental Orthodox), namely the Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox Tewahido Church. 

Your question legitimate and has a valid answer. 

First, I would like to remind you that I am not a scholar of the Ethiopian/Eritrean Orthodox Tewahido Church, but I would love to share the information that I possess. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Music in the Ethiopian (now, I will with all due respect to both Churches, only mention the Ethiopian as representing the Eritrean also...) Orthodox Tewahido Church is sacred to Her people and believed to be Divinely inspired.  This most spiritual and Christian music expresses the faithful's meditations and prayers to God alike. 

Prior to the Sixth Century (AD), the ecclesiastical music, namely the Psalms and Liturgical hymns of Ethiopia were monotone and simple intonations.  Upon the maturation, Divinely inspired Yared, an Ethiopian saint and priest, this all changed.

St. Yared was born and grew-up during the flourinshing period of Christianity in Ethiopia.  The king(s) were saintly--drawn to Christianity and the Nine Saints entered Ethiopia at that time, highly promoting and establishing the monastic life and method in Ethiopia.  He, St. Yared is single-handedly responsible for composing most, if not all of the Ethiopian Church hymnology and converting the mode of songs.  He even invented special instruments to honor the Lord (i.e. sistrum, drums and the use of the prayer sticks).

CONCERNING THE LITURGICAL HYMNS
Logged

'He who is greatest among you, will be your servant [St. Matthew 23:11].'
HaileAmanuel
HaileAmanuel [Amanuel is my Power]
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahido/Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 87


He that is greatest among you will be your servant


« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2008, 07:20:40 PM »

[Sorry, for some reason, I hit a button and I posted without finishing]

CONCERNING THE LITURGICAL HYMNS

Please let me quote from a scholar who wrote about the great St. Yared:

1) Mi'iraf [a work of Yared]: literally "resting place" or "chapter".  This is a collection of significant passages selected mainly from the Psalms and the New Testament put to music.  The Mi'iraf, containing most of the material for Yi'qal Temhert [learning by memory], can only be used in conjunction with hymns in other books and is the equivalent of the Common of the Office, in the Latin Church.

2) Zimare: This is a book of songs sang at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgical Service.  The word Zimare is also applied to a single hymn in the post-Communion service known as Etane-Moger.  The lyrics honor the Eucharist and eulogize the saint being commermorated on a particular date.

3) Mewase'et: This represents a collection of hymns for the repose of the souls of the deceased.  Some are sung on certain great festivals of the Church.  The Mewase'et, which may be translated as "response' or "responsory" and which may also refer to a single hymn, is so called because of the way it is sung alternately.  A mewase'et is inserted between the first and last lines of a psalm. 

It is said that in the Holy Tabernacle of ancient Israel, there were certain Levites who would sing hymns around the Holy Place and/or the Ark.

In the Ethiopian Church, these type of servants became known as Debtera (or meri'geta).  Debtera means (tabernacle), because these men stand inside the Church for hours, singing around the Sanctuary.  Meri'geta literally means "Lord of the Center".  It is he who conducts the mahilet (or 'chant'). 

The meri'geta (could be more than one) stand outside of the Sanctuary (the Holy of Holies), where the Ark-the Tabot (Ethiopian for 'ark') sits.  It rests in the Altar-the menber. 

It is hard to identify the specific place where the debtera or meri'geta stand in a Basilica style or Cathedral style Church, because the traditional Ethiopian Church is round.  The name of that area is called the Qe'ne Mahilet.  The mahilet (chant) is performed before and/or after the Liturgical Service, not during.

During this chant and depending on the season, there is a holy dance, drumming and the use of sistrum (all invented by Yared). 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is really so much to say about St. Yared and Ethiopian Hymnology.  To master this hymnology takes at least 14 years of studying (just to be familiar with the types of St. Yared's Hymnology) and it is not just singing, but memorization of notations, song books and the Holy Bible itself.

I took most of the information from a book written by a good friend of mine, Qesis Abraham Habte-Selassie.  The title of the book is SAINT YARED AND ETHIOPIAN ECCLESIASTICAL MUSIC. 

Thanks for reading and may God bless you abundantly,

Sincerely,

haileAmanuel
Logged

'He who is greatest among you, will be your servant [St. Matthew 23:11].'
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2008, 07:26:58 PM »

Fascinating posts, HaileAmanuel!
Logged

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,892


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2008, 07:44:38 PM »

St. Yared is amazing!  Some info about him was posted in the OO saints thread (reply 48):

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10363.45.html#lastPost

HaileAmanuel,

Where do the mezmurs, which we've been posting so much on the OO music thread, fit in all this?
Logged

Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2008, 10:47:17 PM »

I'm listening intently! Please tell us  more. This is so interesting!
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Andrew21091
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 1,271



« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2008, 05:04:48 PM »

Great post HaileAmanuel. Very informative. I'll read about St. Yared's life in the Saint's thread.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 05:04:58 PM by Andrew21091 » Logged
Simayan
Site Supporter
High Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ecumenical Patriarchate - GOA
Posts: 816



« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2008, 06:54:15 PM »

Excellent post! Very informative!
Logged

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."
wynd
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 503


Transfiguration


« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2008, 09:05:32 PM »

Is this Ethiopian Orthodox? http://youtube.com/watch?v=cRsF8_sxDhE
Logged
HaileAmanuel
HaileAmanuel [Amanuel is my Power]
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahido/Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 87


He that is greatest among you will be your servant


« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2008, 10:08:08 PM »

Dear Brothers [and Sisters],

I hope that everyone is well in Christ our Risen Lord.  Thank you for your responses and comments, but truly the Glory is due to the Holy Trinity, Who caused Saint Yared to ascend (whether in spirit or body, or both) into to the Paradise of Joy to witness the Heavenly Hosts praising our Creator. 

Is this Ethiopian Orthodox? http://youtube.com/watch?v=cRsF8_sxDhE

Yes.  This is an 'independent' Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Washington, DC.  Actually, the author of the book that I mentioned, serves in this Church. 

The video is showing the mahilet, the chant that is composed of a'qwa'qwa'm--one of St. Yared's works.  You can see that this holy dance (wo'reb) is being performed infront of the Altar, with the prayer sticks (me'qwa'mee'ya) and sistrum (tsi'na'tsi'l) in the chanters (debteras) hands as they move back and forth.  Every movement has a symbol, every movement.  You can also hear the drum being  beaten.  There is also a high-pitched voice in front of the others--that is the Meri'geta: the Leader of the Chant.

1) The Drum [ke'ba'ro]: The scholars say that St. Yared used this special drum to represent the sounds of when our Lord Jesus was being beaten by the Jews and Gentiles.  There are special rythms that are played according to the mode and season.

2) The Prayer Sticks [me'qwa'mee'ya]: In the movie, the Passion of Christ, you see the Sanhedrin bearing these prayer sticks.  Because of Ethiopia's pre-Christian Hebraic beliefs and elements, this stick was used by the Old Testament clergy (Le'va'wee'a'n).  In Jerusalem, that OT clergy used these sticks to beat our Lord on His Holy head until He bled profusely.  Now, St. Yared transformed this stick to be used as an instrument to remind the NT clergy and chanters of how and what the OT clergy did to their Creator.  By St. Yared, it moves and waves symbolically to show how those blind and deaf ones beat the Lord with the sticks that they leaned-upon to pray to Him who they beat...

3) The Sistrum [tsi'na'tsi'l]: O Yared, how did you find earthly instruments to duplicate what your heard in Paradise?!  The sistrum represent several things.  The sound is supposed to imitate the sound of the whipping of Christ at the hands of the Jews and Gentiles.  It also goes back-and-forth (like the whips).  It is also said that during our Lord's Passion, the crowds were so immense that our Lord was pushed side-to-side and back-and-forth, hence some of the patterns of the wo'reb (the sacred dance). 

The Ethiopian sistrum was also invented by the Theologian St. Yared to resemble Heaven and Earth, while having 3 cymbols above (on the top part) and (two below).  Three above representing the Holy Trinity; the two below representing Adam and Eve, not to mention the One Incarnate Nature of God the Word.  Together they are one instrument in perfect harmony, adored by all through the suffering (the whipping) of the Son of God. 

This is most likely, post-Communion and I think that it is a commemoration for our Lady, St. Mary or St. Tekle Haymanote. 

A question one may ask:  How are the chanters commemorating St. Tekle Haymanote with the hymns composed by St. Yared; isn't St. Tekle Haymanote post-Yared?  

Good question.  During the pagan invasions that took place in Ethiopia by the Jewish monster-Gudit (Yodit) and the grudgeful Ibn Ahmad-Muhammed Gragn, many of St. Yared's works were destroyed.  BUT, there were faithful scholars who recorded some excerpts of these works and applied the commemoration of the saints and other prayers to St. Yared's order, such as the Sa'ataat (the Ethiopian Book of Hours: Composed by Abba Giorgis according to the method of Yared). 

On that video, you are seeing ten or so chanters, how about seeing and hearing thousands of the chanters at once! Attending the Meskel Celebration and the Lidet (Birth of our Lord) Celebration in Lalibela (Ethiopia), one would be able experience this.  I will try to send the link where these videos are sold on the internet.

Please take care and enjoy the blessing of these 50 holy days...

Sincerely yours in Christ our Risen God,

haileAmanuel
Logged

'He who is greatest among you, will be your servant [St. Matthew 23:11].'
wynd
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 503


Transfiguration


« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2008, 10:42:12 PM »

Yes.  This is an 'independent' Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Washington, DC.  Actually, the author of the book that I mentioned, serves in this Church.

OK, thanks. I wanted to verify that it was Ethiopian Orthodox, because this kind of liturgical drums and dance are often used to justify things like this on the grounds that "the Ethiopian Orthodox do it!" I believe this was what the OP was getting at when he said "but it's the Divine Liturgy," and I just wanted to point out that the two concepts are completely different things.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 10:43:19 PM by wynd » Logged
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,892


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2008, 11:50:51 PM »

the two concepts are completely different things.

My goodness, yes.  For starters, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church they keep their shirts on.   Shocked

I get the feeling that the liturgical dance in the Catholic video is not based on anything brought to us by St. Yared.
Logged

Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,892


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2008, 01:06:59 AM »


2) The Prayer Sticks [me'qwa'mee'ya]: In the movie, the Passion of Christ, you see the Sanhedrin bearing these prayer sticks.  Because of Ethiopia's pre-Christian Hebraic beliefs and elements, this stick was used by the Old Testament clergy (Le'va'wee'a'n).  In Jerusalem, that OT clergy used these sticks to beat our Lord on His Holy head until He bled profusely.  Now, St. Yared transformed this stick to be used as an instrument to remind the NT clergy and chanters of how and what the OT clergy did to their Creator.  By St. Yared, it moves and waves symbolically to show how those blind and deaf ones beat the Lord with the sticks that they leaned-upon to pray to Him who they beat...



This is interesting.  I just assumed the prayer sticks were developed by monks to lean on, during the many hours of standing during prayer.  I had no idea there was a deeper meaning.  Thank you for the explanation.
Logged

HaileAmanuel
HaileAmanuel [Amanuel is my Power]
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Christian
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahido/Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 87


He that is greatest among you will be your servant


« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2008, 12:08:02 PM »

St. Yared is amazing!  Some info about him was posted in the OO saints thread (reply 48):

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10363.45.html#lastPost

HaileAmanuel,

Where do the mezmurs, which we've been posting so much on the OO music thread, fit in all this?

Hi Salpy--Christ is Risen!

I'm sorry!  I wasn't ignoring your question.  I think that the link that you provided is a basic history of St. Yared according to an Ethiopian author Belai Guday (?) who wrote about Ethiopian and Her Civilization. 

The me'z'mu'r is typically referred to the Psalms of David.  Now, the Ethiopian Orthodox choirs are referred to as the me'z'mu'r'a'n (mezmuran) or psalmists, simply meaning that they cry or sing unto the Lord with certain melodies. 

The songs that the mezmuran sing are derived from St. Yared's Works, but they are not of St. Yared's modalities.  The mezmuran of Ethiopia usually accommodate the language of the region.  For instance, a mezmuran from Tigray may sing in Tigrinya; those of Debre Birhan may sing in Amharic; those of Harar may sing in Harari or Orominya. 

St. Yared's Work is Ge'ez, although it may be translated into Tigrinya or Amharic (but I understand that this is just for reference). 

I hope that this helps.  Take care and God be with you,

haileamanuel
Logged

'He who is greatest among you, will be your servant [St. Matthew 23:11].'
_Seraphim_
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Serbian Diocese of Western America (under His Grace Bishop Maxim)
Posts: 657


May Orthodoxy become our orthopraxis


WWW
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2008, 12:10:57 AM »

There is really so much to say about St. Yared and Ethiopian Hymnology.  To master this hymnology takes at least 14 years of studying (just to be familiar with the types of St. Yared's Hymnology) and it is not just singing, but memorization of notations, song books and the Holy Bible itself.

I took most of the information from a book written by a good friend of mine, Qesis Abraham Habte-Selassie.  The title of the book is SAINT YARED AND ETHIOPIAN ECCLESIASTICAL MUSIC. 

HaileAmanuel, thank you so much for these posts!  You bring very valuable and hard-to-get information to this forum!

Is this book you mentioned available in English?
Logged

"Disputes merely about words must not be suffered to divide those who think alike."
-St. Athanasius (†444)

Pray for Orthodox Unity

"Behold the light of our Agreed Statement on Christology"
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state04.html
_Seraphim_
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Serbian Diocese of Western America (under His Grace Bishop Maxim)
Posts: 657


May Orthodoxy become our orthopraxis


WWW
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2008, 12:13:56 AM »

My goodness, yes.  For starters, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church they keep their shirts on.   Shocked

I get the feeling that the liturgical dance in the Catholic video is not based on anything brought to us by St. Yared.


Amen, Salpy.   Undecided

+Lord have mercy
Logged

"Disputes merely about words must not be suffered to divide those who think alike."
-St. Athanasius (†444)

Pray for Orthodox Unity

"Behold the light of our Agreed Statement on Christology"
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state04.html
HabteSelassie
Ises and I-ity
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 3,332



« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2011, 10:06:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Aside from the wonderfully detailed explanations provided above, remember that Ethiopians are Africans, and the drum is central to worship and prayer in Africa.  It is universally Pan-African.  It is also one of the reasons that I as a  Rastafari who is oriented with hand drums, was drawn into the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo worship.

Though to be sure, the drum is never used in the Divine Liturgy proper, only some elements of the sacred dance but I have seen the same in other Orthodox liturgies as well, around the altar at various points in the service. 

The drum and dance are for other kinds of prayers, worship, and services aside from the Divine Liturgy proper, and the Liturgy is always of a more sober timbre following the Yared's hymn mahalet which often precede it on sacred holidays. 

I have been asking but not getting any other answers, which other Orthodox cultures use the hand drum in the Church? Is it uniquely Ethiopian?
 
stay blessed,
habte selassie
Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,892


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2011, 10:29:05 PM »

No drum is used in the Armenian Church.
Logged

deusveritasest
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: None
Jurisdiction: None
Posts: 7,528



WWW
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2011, 11:43:53 PM »

Christ is Risen!

I am currently Eastern Orthodox, but am trying to read more about my Oriental Orthodox brethren. And I have a question I cannot seem to find an answer on. Why do the Ethiopian Orthodox dance, use drums, and clap during their worship? I know that drums are imported and deeply rooted within the culture, but, it's the Divine Liturgy.

Thanks! Smiley

~Justin

I don't remember ever seeing dancing, drums, or clapping during the DL at an Ethiopian church, but only ever afterward.
Logged

I stopped posting here in August 2011 because of stark disagreement with the policies of the administration and moderating team of the forums. If you desire, feel free to PM me, message me on Facebook (link in profile), or email me: cddombrowski@gmail.com
deusveritasest
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: None
Jurisdiction: None
Posts: 7,528



WWW
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2011, 12:00:26 AM »

I have been asking but not getting any other answers, which other Orthodox cultures use the hand drum in the Church? Is it uniquely Ethiopian?

I believe that Ethiopia/Eritrea is the only ancient Christian people to use drums in a religious context. It's entirely possible that the drum has now been appropriated in other African countries where Orthodoxy has been recently introduced, but in all these other cases I think it is fairly new.
Logged

I stopped posting here in August 2011 because of stark disagreement with the policies of the administration and moderating team of the forums. If you desire, feel free to PM me, message me on Facebook (link in profile), or email me: cddombrowski@gmail.com
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2011, 12:10:26 AM »

Hey Justin. Nice to see you here at OC.net.

I'm not Ethiopian Orthodox, but the reasons for the use of dancing and instruments can be found in the Psalms. What does Psalm 149 say? "Let them praise His name in the dance; with the timbrel and the psaltery let them chant unto Him." Also in Psalm 150: "Praise Him with timbrel and dance, praise him with strings and flute. Praise Him with tuneful cymbals, praise Him with cymbals of jubilation. Let every breath praise the Lord."

You know, this is true. Every time I hear this chanted during orthros, I'm kind of like, 'then why aren't we dancing?'  Grin
Logged
HabteSelassie
Ises and I-ity
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 3,332



« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2011, 04:52:19 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I have been asking but not getting any other answers, which other Orthodox cultures use the hand drum in the Church? Is it uniquely Ethiopian?

I believe that Ethiopia/Eritrea is the only ancient Christian people to use drums in a religious context. It's entirely possible that the drum has now been appropriated in other African countries where Orthodoxy has been recently introduced, but in all these other cases I think it is fairly new.

This is what I suspected, though I had hopes for the Armenians because they do have very delightful 'indigenous' hand drums


In Rastafari, the most crucial aspect of worship is the hand drum.  Its sacred reverberations are the intonations of the Spirit, they transcend ordinary time and are part of the Divine, connecting with the heart beat rhythm of Creation, stopping man's endless march to death for at least a moment to enter sacred reflection and pause and enjoy as moment with the Creator.  When your pray to instruments, especially the drum, those prayers are carried across time and space beyond the moment of your prayer in the form of the vibrating sound waves, converting spiritual energy into physical, and those vibes are carried forever praying for you even after you stop.  This is why Rastafari use the hand drum, it is a kind of way of entering permanence, eternity. It is the drum which liberated the Americas from slavery and colonialism, it is the drum which then later liberated the African continent, it is the drum which liberated Ethiopia from all her own enemies, and in Rastafari we beat the  drum in rhythm with the sacred vibes of freedom which are Word, Sound, Power, which our Lord and Savior first reverberated as the Divine Word proclaiming, "Behold the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."


In its own way, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo hand drums, the kebero serves the same purpose for Yared's sacred hymns sung during mahalet services which are some of the most sacred and literally mystifying services of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church.  The ecstasy builds to fever pitch as even ranking priests jump and wail, the whole congregation pulses, and suddenly it crescendos to a peaking, ultimate, rushing calm and sudden stillness, the cantor immediately intones as quiet, somber, meditative chant and the drum beats on slow and driving.  This can go on for 4 or 5 hours straight before holy 3 hour Masses on Fasika (Easter) Saint Michael's Days.  It is mystical.  The Church does not allow just any instrument, but only a few, and each of theological explanations.

Quote
Mesenqo /The Ethiopian Single string violin/

The name “Mesenqo” is derived from the Geez word, “Senqewe” meaning “to sing” or “to beat”. Like the other Ethiopian musical instruments, Mesenqo has its origin in the Old Testament (Isaiah 5:12, 23:16 and Job 21:12). The Orthodox believers symbolize Mesenqo with St. Mary. The horsetail strings of Mesenqo must be rubbed with incense to produce the sound. According to the believers interpretation, the incense is the example of Jesus Christ. The strings produce sound after rubbed by the incense, St. Mary is known to be the most respected Holy Lady after she has given birth to Christ. The incenses are also related with the incense that the three wise men delivered to Christ at His birth with gold and myrrh.

 

The straightness and singleness of the string exemplifies the Orthodox Tewahido Faith. In Greek, “Ortho” means “correct/faultless” and “Dox” means “belief” and “Tewahido” represents unity. Accordingly, “Orthodox” stands for one belief that is correct or faultless.

 

The rainbow-like handle of Mesenqo also symbolizes the rainbow that good showed to Noah as a promise not to punish the world again with water, and the cross at the top reminds believers the cross on which Christ was crucified.

 

The box of the Mesenqo, which is made up of leather is also the example of Noah`s boat in which he saved himself from the storm. Here, Noah`s boat in turn exemplifies St. Mary and the storm exemplifies the hell. This has a very propounding lesson to the believers that as Noach`s boat saved him from the storm, St. Mary saves the world as She gave birth to Christ

.

Meleket /The Trumpet/

 

Meleket has its origin dating back to the Old Testament (Genesis 4:21,10:1) and psalms 60:3). Peoples used Meleket to announce both good and bad, news, meaning happiness and sadness. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church relates this with the Day of Judgment (i.e. the second coming of Christ for the last Judgment). According to this interpretation, the good news is the call for those who fulfilled his orders to be saved in the heaven forever while the bad news if for the sinners to be thrown to the everlasting hell.

 

Meleket is also to declare war. Like wise, the believers relate this with the declaration of the closeness of the day of the Last Judgment for the Christians to prepare themselves for the heaven fulfilling Christ's orders. In other words, it awakens them to fulfill Christ's orders and be ready for the heavenly life.

 

Begena /The Ethiopian Harp/

 

The name Begena is derived from the Geez word “Deredere”, meaning, “to beat”. Its origin also dates back to the Old Testament (Genesis 4:21 and pslams 32:1-4 and 91:3). Begena has ten strings made from horsetail, which symbolize the ten commandments of Christ. The two wooden standings (one on either side) are interpreted as the notifications of the Old and the New Testaments. The horizontal one that connects the two stands represents the Holy Bible that consists of the two stands represents the Holy Bible that consists of the Testaments.

 

The classical sound of the Begena is believed to be a reminiscent of St. Mary prayer to Her child, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of the signers.

 

Embilta /A Pipe- Like, wind instrument/

 

Embilta has also been used to praise God beginning from the Old Testament (Psalms 150:4, 1Chronicles 15:28 and Job 21:12). Regarding the symbolic interpretation, Embilta and Trumba (another trumpet) have the same interpretation as Meleket.

 

Washint /The flute/

 

Washint also its origin the Old Testament (Daniel 3:5). According to the Orthodox believers, Washint represents the Gospel, which is the declaration of the coming of Christ. The four holes of Washint are the examples of the four Evangelists: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

 



 


.
http://www.eotc-mkidusan.org/English/OrthodoxForB/index_Juely15.htm

Quote
Sistrums

    The Egyptian and Ethiopian sistrums are probably the oldest and best known idiophone types. Both are made of three or four metal rods that are horizontally drawn through a bow or U- shaped frame with a handle. They are of wood, porcelain, or pottery; the more recent standard type is made of metal. Both are equipped with movable discs, threaded on the rods, which jingle or clash when the instrument is shaken. It is interesting to note here that these ancient sistrums of African origin later spread to Greece, Rome, and other cultures around the Mediterranean as well as to other countries on the African continent. The sistrum used in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Churches as well as in the Fellasha Synagogues are known as tsenatsil. Its social function is evidenced by its popularity in many Jewish Communities of North Africa, and the Middle and Near East, where it accompanies exclusively sacred chants.
 
    It is also interesting to indicate here that the four jingling metal bars on the sistrum are linked with the elements of nature: fire, water, air, and earth. In most of the cults, the sistrum was identified with votive power. The sistra of contemporary Ethiopia are strictly religious instruments played only by male deacons and priests to accompany sacred chants. In this case, close relationships exist between Ethiopian and Jewish practices in the use of the sistrum; and in both cultures, it is played by male priests. Metallic idiophones had a universal role of protecting the bearer against evil spirits. In many oriental cultures of Africa and the Near East, for example, jingles are used in the rites of initiation and circumcision. This extra-musical roles associated and interrelated with magic and religion are by no means limited to the non-European world. It is also practiced in Europe; in A.D. 900, for example, Pope John IX ordered that bells be used in the Catholic Church as a defense against thunder and lightning. It is edifying to know the roles musical instruments play in religious, magical, and other symbolic services in societies, east and west.
http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/church/styaredbyashenafikebede.html

Our entire sacred dance at the Mahalet services or at Tabot processions are rooted in the biblical traditions of the Davidic Monarchy and the Ark and Temple rituals, with the addition of particular Ethiopian flavors of rhythm, dance, instrumentation, and song, however the theology and symbolism are strictly biblical in explanation.  Don't let our exciting musical services fool you, Ethiopian Orthodox is staunchly, resiliently conservative leaning through out its history and today, even if our dancing and drums ruffle the feathers of some other conservative Orthodox communities in Jerusalem Wink [I actually kind of get  kick out of this ]

stay blessed,
habte selassie

« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 05:02:39 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Tags: music liturgical music Oriental Orthodox Music Ethiopian Orthodox Church St. Yared Orthodox Music dancing 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.107 seconds with 52 queries.